Apple steps up environmental efforts in China

The company's assembly sites are keeping waste out of landfills, and its suppliers are moving toward renewable energy.

windmills newark apple renewable energy
Credit: Apple

Apple doesn’t talk about its supply chain very often, but the company does love to tout its environmental efforts. On Tuesday, Apple announced that its supplier Lens Technology has committed to using 100 percent renewable energy to manufacture glass for Apple, by the end of 2018.

Lens Technology is expected to use wind power to reach this goal. Currently, it produces glass for Apple at two factories in Changsha, Human province, in southern China. By using clean wind power, the firm will avoid releasing nearly 450,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

“We want to show the world that you can manufacture responsibly and we’re working alongside our suppliers to help them lower their environmental impact in China,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, in a press statement. “We congratulate Lens for their bold step, and hope by sharing the lessons we’ve learned in our transition to renewable energy, our suppliers will continue to access clean power projects, moving China closer to its green manufacturing goals.”

Apple also announced that all 14 of its final assembly sites in China are compliant with UL’s Zero Waste to Landfill validation. That program make sure that all waste from a manufacturing plant is kept out of landfills through reuse, recycling, composting, or “converting into energy” (aka incinerating) when necessary. Apple says that since it began this program in January 2015, 140,000 metric tons of waste have been spared from landfills.

Two assembly sites run by Apple’s contractor Foxconn, in Guanlan and Taiyuan, were the first in China to receive the Zero Waste to Landfill certification. Additionally, Foxconn committed last October to constructing 400 megawatts of solar by 2018, and Apple says it’s “well on its way” to the first 80 megawatts of that committment. Apple already powers 100 percent of its own operations in China with renewable energy.

“We applaud innovative companies, like Apple, that are leading by actively reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing operations,” said UL president and CEO Keith Williams. “Achieving zero waste is an extensive effort that requires close coordination across all facets of a company’s operations, especially when the commitment is global.”

You can read more about Apple’s efforts to protect the environment on

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter